Trip Summary

Day 52: 2929 miles completed, 8 states, 7 flat tires, 4 flat mattresses, 40 new friends and Bruce #1, 8 rest days

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Day 9: Rest Day #1 - Mount Lemmon

The first rest day for most coast 2 coasters is greatly anticipated, spent relaxing and catching up on general housekeeping.  However, my plan for the rest day has been planned for the last few months.  I spent it climbing Mount Lemmon, which begins at 1900 feet of elevation and summits at 8300 feet with an average grade of 7% and maximum of 14.9 percent.  Fortunately, two of our friendly SAG  volunteers were also planning the ascent and we drove to the start, saving me from 108 mile round trip.

On the drive, we were a bit concerned by strong Easterly winds that were whipping flags and causing stoplights to stay.  Our overly optimistic (even more optimistic than Bubba) driver assured us that the wind would be calmer on the mountain.  It turns out he could not have been more wrong, the breeze seemed to be amplified as it squeezed between the peaks.

The road to the summit took us straight into the wind for five miles. It was so windy that we struggled to stay on our bikes - barely moving at 6 mph and wind gusts practically blowing us off our bikes.  Eventually we changed direction and received a push.  The remainder of the ride to the summit involved changing direction, oscillating grades, and decreasing temperatures.  One short stretch up a 6% grade, I was cycling at 15 mph thanks to the temporary tail wind.

The ride to the summit was 21 miles, followed by a 5 mile descent into Summerhaven.  I turned around and returned to the summit to meet up with Rose and Murphy, my riding partners for the day, although we barely saw each other on the road.

Climbing a real mountain, ranked to be the 31st most difficult climb in the US, was my best day riding.  No photos; didn't want to risk cramping or deciding not to continue.

Short Video

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